The elected members of the Board of estimate, Comptroller Pratt, President Jack Young, and Mayor Rawlings-Blake are the incumbents that you keep reelecting and who are actively working against the interests of the citizens of Baltimore. We need to send a message loudly and strongly that we will no longer accept this kind of corruption in our government.
I spoke recently with the CEO of Associated Black Charities and voiced my concern about development in Baltimore as it relates to all underserved families......black, Hispanic, and white. I used the following Board of Estimate contract award as an example. This contract involved two projects. One contract was to replace the much maligned speed cameras throughout the city and one contract involved the installation and maintenance of these cameras. One minority company aligned with Xerox had a long history of installation and maintenance of these cameras. The Board ended that long held contract and gave it to a company having no experience in the process or terrain. Now, I am constantly fighting against mega-corporations as they predominate Baltimore development and now I'm hearing that a longstanding mega-corporation needs to go for a smaller business. Below you see my comments to the Baltimore Sun who reported on the issue.
I would like to say that if I had been able to comment, I would have pointed to the fact that Xerox had indeed offered savings in the contract that placed their bid lower than the other bids. The mantra regarding asterisks was of course the technicality that all found unbelievable. Your article also gave the big guy/little guy argument that we all make each time these bids head to the big guys......which is almost all the time. So, I encourage you to continue to point towards this continuous problem with Baltimore bid awards.
The big issue that was missed in this article and was truly the elephant in the room, Xerox is a company known for decades of partnership with minority/women businesses. They have led the way and it is why they were involved in this contract in Baltimore. As such, a recognition of such a high level of community service for decades while other companies failed to step into the economic climate was due.......and mysteriously missing. I know, you know, and the Board of Estimates knows that if these 'big' companies who spent decades supporting the city while in decline are brushed aside they will see minority partnership as a hindrance to their future business. Do I need to highlight the number of 'big' companies having received contracts this year alone in Baltimore in order to make a point as to which value trumped in this award?
City awards new traffic camera contractBoard breaks ties with longtime vendor
November 07, 2012|By Luke Broadwater, The Baltimore Sun
Baltimore broke ties with its longstanding red-light and speed-camera operator Wednesday, awarding a multimillion-dollar contract to a Hanover-based company that has served smaller cities.
The Board of Estimates voted 4-1 to give the contract to Brekford Corp., which has run the speed camera system in Laurel, among other places.
The action came over the protests of the company that has operated the cameras in Baltimore since 1999, bringing in $140 million in revenue.
"If you don't like my client, do it the right way," said Robert Dashiell, an attorney for Xerox State & Local Solutions Inc., formerly called ACS State & Local Solutions, the longtime operator. "Don't came up with this fictitious argument that somehow we aren't responsive."
City officials argued that Xerox's bid for a renewed contract was technically deficient.
"We had to take a look at the bids in a way that was fair to all. In doing so, Brekford won," said Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, who controls the board. "It's the cheapest. But it wasn't scored just on cost alone. They came out on top."
Maurice Nelson, managing director of Brekford, said the city "made a bold step forward" by switching firms.
"Sometimes we don't get an opportunity because the larger companies have the contracts locked up," he said. "This was a great opportunity for us — not just the giants — to show what we can do."
Brekford operates 12 speed-camera programs, including those in Laurel, Salisbury and Hagerstown, and has assets of less than $10 million.
The company offered Baltimore about $2 million more in revenue over the course of the five-year contract — $90.7 million versus $88.8 million. The amount of revenue pledged to the city was the largest determining factor in deciding a company's score during the bidding process, documents show.
The new company will take over the camera system Jan. 1.
Xerox had gone to some length to keep a lucrative contract. Xerox made more than $9 million in profit from speed cameras last year, while the city took in more than $19 million. Dallas-based Xerox hired Baltimore lobbying firm Harris Jones & Malone to help secure the deal. For the better part of an hour Wednesday, a representative from the firm attempted to convince board members to change their mind and award the contract to Xerox.
In a letter to the spending panel, Dashiell argued that his clients have reduced speeding at intersections with fixed cameras by 88 percent. Brekford, he argued, had no experience with a jurisdiction as large as Baltimore.
Nelson said Brekford's smaller size will work to its advantage. "We're local," he said. "We're not a $23 billion corporation. We're going to pay attention to quality control."
Jamie Kendrick, a deputy director in the city Transportation Department, said the agency would not ask Brekford to install new cameras, just to maintain existing locations.
Rawlings-Blake has convened a task force to study the devices. The Automated Traffic Violation Enforcement System Task Force is charged with studying camera locations, citation accuracy rates, and program management and performance.
The committee's eight members — representatives of city and state government, a driver advocacy group and a community group — plan to issue a report next year.
The city currently has 83 speed cameras, which issue $40 citations. Of those, eight portable cameras move around the city to 87 different locations. The city has 81 red-light cameras, which issue $75 citations.
Whether it is Living Wage or prioritizing minority business growth in the city and indeed Maryland, each time you watch the news to see someone robbed, to see violence around drug deals, or hear about minority unemployment stats.......this is the policy that creates all of these social ills......and it is totally unnecessary. IF I HAVE TO LISTEN TO ONE MORE PERSON TALKING ABOUT THE NEED FOR THE POOR TO GET UP AND DO SOMETHING FOR THEMSELVES, I WILL BE FORCED TO CALL THAT PERSON AN IDIOT.
Below you see a wonderful lady who has a lot of pull in Maryland as regards these issues and she promised me to shout loudly and strongly about the continuous loss of minority work and the environment in Baltimore that places wealth above the needs of the people. I will be listening for her voice on this critical issue. THIS AFFECTS EVERYONE AND NOT ONLY THE UNDERSERVED. ALL MIDDLE-CLASS FAMILIES ARE DEALING WITH THIS HUGE INEQUITY.
Diane Bell-McKoy is the President and CEO of Associated Black Charities (ABC), Maryland’s leading African American philanthropic organization, where she leads a team of “change agents” focused on closing the health and wealth gaps in the State of Maryland through strategic partnerships and investments. Their signature economic strategy is More in the Middle, focusing on a wealthier region by strengthening the assets of people of color, specifically African Americans.
So at today's Board of Estimates meeting you have the Minority Business lawyer protesting an award that yet again is clearly a case of extreme prejudice in that it allows a bidder the opportunity to submit a revised bid in order to win the contract. Remember, the Xerox bid above was sidelined by a technicality in how the bid amount was given and they were not given any chance to meet concerns. THE MINORITY BUSINESS LAWYER SAYS OVER AND AGAIN THAT ALL THIS IS FLUX IN THE AWARD SYSTEM IS UNPRECEDENTED AND CREATES A BIASED AND UNBALANCED MOVEMENT OF CONTRACTS......AND HE IS RIGHT! It is painful to watch. You see most of these legal contortions on contracts that would meet the Living Wage or Minority/Women Business Requirements.
WE ARE SAYING THAT IT IS RIDICULOUS TO DRIVE WORK IN THE CITY OF BALTIMORE WITH SUCH FRIVOLOUS MOTIVATIONS.
Below you see that cost overruns are so frequent as to be routine. When you have a company win contract with a low bid and then they come back for extensions that if included in the original bid would not have won them the job........you have a problem. OH, THIS WILL HAPPEN YOU MIGHT SAY! NOT ALL THE TIME.
City set to approve cost overruns for water and downtown street projects Two extra work orders and a $4 million contract to Monumental Paving are among the items before the Board of Estimates today
Mark Reutter July 27, 2011 at 6:01 am Baltimore Brew
The crisp road surface and crosswalks on the 100 block of W. Lexington Street are nice, but the work cost 32% above the original bid price.
UPDATE: In a meeting lasting less than three minutes, the Board of Estimates approved all of the spending items listed below without discussion. City Council President Bernard C. “Jack” Young abstained from voting on the Monumental Paving & Excavating water repair contracts and the Falls Rd. water main replacement.
For the second time in a month, the city water bureau is asking the Baltimore Board of Estimates to approve a water repair contract whose cost has ballooned many times over its original competitive bid.
The extra work order on today’s agenda – on a contract originally awarded for $453,076 to Monumental Paving & Excavating – will raise the total price to $2,307,996, according to board records. The extra work is described as “drainage repairs and improvements at various locations,” without further explanation.
The same company is also due to receive $236,000 in cost overruns involving its repaving of the 100 block W. Lexington Street downtown.
Last month, City Auditor Robert L. McCarty Jr. criticized the bureau of water and wastewater for adding 18 extra work orders to a contract to Spiniello Co., a New Jersey water pipeline contractor. The extra orders, for additional emergency and scheduled work, upped the price of that contract from $10.4 million to nearly $20 million.
McCarty said the award to Monumental Paving was examined by the city’s change order review committee and involved repairs that had not been started, unlike the Spiniello contract. McCarty said the city considers it more efficient to let a contractor complete extra work on an existing contract, especially for unanticipated costs, rather than rebid the contract.
Generous Campaign Donor
In addition to the extra work order, Monumental Paving is also expected today to win Board of Estimates approval of a $3,984,398 contract to “repave [water] utility cuts at various locations.”
New brick paving, crosswalks and cut-outs were recently finished by Monumental Paving, replacing the old pedestrian mall on Lexington Street. (Photo by Fern Shen)
George P. Mahoney Jr., owner of Monumental Paving, is known for his generous support of local Democratic officeholders. He’s already given the maximum $4,000 donation to Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake’s re-election campaign.
Mahoney was reported out of the office and unavailable yesterday. Company President Paul Crowl, reached on his cellphone, said he was not authorized to discuss the cost overruns.
Monumental Paving’s $235,840 in additional fees for resurfacing Lexington Street between Park Avenue and Liberty Street stems from a contract approved last August by the Board of Estimates.
Board documents do not disclose why the repaved street cost 32% above its $736,520 bid price. Civil Construction LLC, of suburban Washington, protested the original bid, but its protest was rejected by the board.
Monumental Paving also beat out Civil Construction in a controversial $18.3 million contract last October to grade and lay pipes at the Uplands redevelopment project in west Baltimore.